May, 21, 2018: The State of Alabama and Congressman Mo Brooks file a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Commerce, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Census Bureau, and then-acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin seeking to require the federal government to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census data used for reapportionment. The suit is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
July 12, 2018: MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), and civil rights attorneys James U. Blacksher and Edward Still file a motion to intervene in federal court on behalf of Latino voters citing concerns that the federal government will not provide a robust defense of the constitutional requirement that calls for a complete count of all residents of the states. The intervenors reside in states, including California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona, that stand to lose congressional seats and federal funding if all residents are not counted.
July 18, 2018: The County of Santa Clara, California, King County, Washington, and City of San Jose, California file a motion to intervene in the case, on the side of the defendants.
November 13, 2018: The Commerce Department and the Census Bureau file a motion to dismiss Alabama’s complaint arguing the state’s claim that it would lose congressional and Electoral College representation as a result of the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in the 2020 Census is speculative.
Dec. 13, 2018: U.S. District Judge David R. Proctor grants MALDEF’s and local governments’ motions to intervene.
May 24, 2019: MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz argues before Judge Proctor in favor of the motion to dismiss Alabama’s lawsuit because the state lacks standing to sue the Commerce Department.
June 5, 2019: Judge Proctor denies the federal government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing Alabama’s lawsuit to move forward.
August 12, 2019: Several states, including New York, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and others, as well as various counties and cities file a motion to intervene in the case on the side of defendants.
September 9, 2019: Judge Proctor grants the states’, counties’, and cities’ latest motion to intervene.
September 10, 2019: Alabama amends its complaint to eliminate its allegations of harm based on a loss of federal funding as a result of the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in the population count. MALDEF issues a statement in response, saying “the shrunken case remains nothing but a streamlined pig in a poke.”
October 1, 2019: MALDEF files a cross-claim in the same case asking the court to order the Census Bureau to issue a declaratory judgment that the removal of undocumented immigrants from congressional apportionment based on estimates of the undocumented immigrant population of each state is unconstitutional. The cross-claim is directly against the federal government as the defendants.
July 21, 2020: President Donald J. Trump issues a presidential memorandum that states that the President intends to unconstitutionally remove undocumented immigrants from the apportionment numbers he delivers to Congress, based on Census enumeration totals and estimates of the undocumented population for each state.
August 3, 2020: MALDEF submits a brief arguing that its cross-claim can go forward regardless of the effect that the presidential memo to exclude undocumented immigrants has on the plaintiffs’ claims.